Monday, November 26, 2007

Grrr! or I ain't no hollaback girl

Without being too sure what exactly comprises an alpha-type personality, I'm pretty sure I'm not one. Not quite. I think I have traces of it, I was the kid achieving extremely well in school until the family implosion when I was in Year 12. And I am an oldest child and therefore bossy, and I like to be the centre of attention.

However, in the career stakes I am a bit of a hippy drop-out, opting for family and personal cosy-ness over the Real Job. (Which is not to say other people can't have both, just that this is not what I want to do in my life). Maybe when I am older I will be sad I never explored my full potential (could I have been a high-flying lawyer?) but I'm willing to risk that. And obviously the not having much money can occasionally be a drag. But as I see it, I am very happy in my life at present. I do have a career of sorts; I even have My Own Business, and this, to my mind, is not to be sneezed at. I love my job, I think I'm good at it and I'm able to be home with the kids during the day and out fulfilling my creative urges at night. And it's not like we're broke, we have all we need. What we don't have is The Great Australian Dream Mortgage. Cest la vie.

Elda and I were discussing all this recently, and were wondering if we were A-minus or B+ types. Is there such a thing? Because both of us have been told that we are scary/intimidating by various people in our lives and we always walk away after those comments mentally shaking our heads. See the thing is, I am a complete coward. Physically and emotionally. The lengths I will go to NOT have a confrontation are ..well .. really long!! I'll bend, I'll fold. I reckon it's only since having kids that I've learned to have a medium-sized yell at other people, but I need to be incandescent with rage to actually do this. And it's rare that I reach that level of rage; on the whole I walk a happy walk, and only stray as far as 'irritable' territory if I fall off the happy path. Trade secret: if you yell at me, chances are I will back down. The good news is that Fixit is not very shouty. We have mild little grumps at each other and hardly ever fight. That's how we like it.

I think the scary reputation comes from a few things:
  • Not being very good at disguising my irritability.
  • edited to add: Having opinions. And being competitive.
  • Suffering from occasional bouts of foot-in-mouth. Must. Think. Before. Opening. Mouth. But don't we all do that? And I usually pay for these faux pas with a week's worth of agonising and kicking myself.
  • Being very bad at waking up of a morning and therefore very grumpy if I don't get to "come-to" in my preferred way (sitting in bed for a good half an hour with a cup of tea, arranging my thoughts for the day) This really only applies if you stay at our house and try to talk to me too early. *cough*Bronnie*cough*
  • Being a reasonably strict mother. Eg. once my kids are in bed, they are not welcome to get back up again and I will roar to enforce this. I don't find them cute when they get back up, even when Climber comes out all docile and says he needs a hug, something that obviously works on Fixit on the nights I go out to teach. And I'm bossy about manners and tend not to cut kids much slack in this department.
  • Being quite confident about many parts of myself and my life. You know, except for all those bits I feel desperately insecure about.
The most recent person to have called me scary (not to my face) was a teenager, and I understand this, because I'm not good with teenagers. I'm probably as scared of them as they are of me, really. I'm hoping to be better with them when my kids hit that age. In the meantime, don't be scared. My bark and my bite are quite pathetic, actually.


  1. I can relate to much of what you're writing here...being eldest also, did fine at school, but not really super-duper ambitious about having a high-powered job. Have my own business and like it when I get to call the shots. Most people would probably also call me intimidating and opinionated, but I don't fell like that *at all*. I'm the biggest wuss...

    Is it a female thing? I dunno...

    Happy Election results, btw. I heard it on the radio here in Norway - that Howard was on the way out - and I immediately thought of you :)


  2. You, are a kitten my dear. Interesting, amusing, chatty, friendly, warm, and a damned good mum (from what I've seen of Cherub!) Though I'm glad I wasn't meeting you for the first time after reading this!
    You have no idea how awed I am that you manage to be a full-time mum AND have your own business doing something you love that is FUN. Here's to B+ types!!!

  3. Lets see...

    *grumpy if no cup of tea in the morning (tick)
    *don't find kids cute if they hop out of bed (big tick - I also frown at others who do think their kids are cute in the same situation)
    *not good at disguising irritibility (tick - note to self, must acquire more "charm")
    *being told I am scary (tick -can't figure that one out)
    *eldest child (tick)

    Hello twin!

  4. Maybe it's a blogger thing?

    It's strange - most of the voices I read on the net are very smart people who don't usually *work work work* (counting myself, and no offense meant)

    Is there some sort of initial for wildly creative people who live quiet lives? 'Cause I'd like to be involved in that.

  5. Your speech and the comments following are quite interesting.

    I'm also the eldest, and stubborn, ambitious and forthright *when* I want to be. I'm also quite lazy and no-striving and kick-back ( again, *when* I want to be ).

    I dislike the limelight, but loved the school plays and always want to be bossy and team leader when in work stuff that requires such things.

    I've actually always classified myself as 'quite contradictory and confusing' - because for every one thing I will say, there is an opposite and equal part to match.

    Maybe it is a chick thing ???

  6. Well I think maybe we're a match apart from the strict parent bit. I try to be strict and then I just give up because it's too difficult. Woof!

  7. The cat visual is funny! I'm the youngest child, but I am the youngest by a large margin. So in essence I am an oldest child all over again. I'm a B+ too. I work in a job that isn't related to my uni degree, but that I find a nice compromise to career stress or being dirt poor. I'm compassionate and forgiving, but only up to a certain point. Don't back me into a corner or try to define me... that ticks me off. Here's to the B pluses of the world!

  8. Goodness, you and your commenters do actually all sound quite scary. In a nice way.

  9. I am a HUGE believer in speaking to people nicely. You can say whatever you need to say, but your tone conveys more meaning than your words. Hence when I get irritated I turn into a softly spoken, highly articulate, determined woman with 'don't piss me off' eyes. People find that scarier and more intimidating than yelling.

    I have been like that with my kids too. I could chastise them and you would never even know, but BY GOD they knew!

  10. If M is your twin then I am your triplet. It was a little eerie reading your desciption of yourself.

    Except that J and I are fighers! We call it communicating.

    Oh and I don't have my own business - for which you have my greatest respect.

  11. How about a "Type U" personality? That is, you know who "U" are and what you're comfortable with, and you're at peace with it.

    You sound like you're very successful at all the things that count.

  12. Yes - oldest child too and known for being bossy as hell!!! Though I always said - I can ask/tell someone to do something but they have a choice to do it or not. If they wont get my shoes for me then I would do it myself, I wasn't going to murder them for not doing it!

    I overheard this converstaion by two young girls running out of school at the end of the day.
    "Hey do you want to come and meet my Mum?"

    "No Way your Mum is really scary!"

  13. I love it that you are bossy about manners. I think I am borderline obsessive about manners. Nothing makes my blood boil faster than lack of manners. And the worst cases are not from kids!!!

  14. Yes, we definitely need more "manners" nazis in the world, and more children who have a set bedtime with no malingering allowed. Three cheers for you!

  15. And I'm the fourth quadruplet...

  16. What a great post. I tend to be like you. I will let a situation eat me up, before I will finally errupt!
    Then everyone should duck for cover. It only happens very rarely now. I dont really like teenagers much.
    Small babies used to cry when they saw me...but now! Now I get glowing smiles & I love it. Something about me must have changed.

  17. Well, all I can say is everybody has beaten me to be your sibling ... :-(

  18. Hey there. Yeah, I think people think I'm scary as well which irritates me. Like you, I hate confrontation (although there's a bit of latent passive aggressive tendencies going down too - maybe that's what they're picking up on hehe)

    Hey, fellow Melbournian! Cool! :)


Don't let the cat get your tongue.